When the turnstiles first clicked at Walt Disney World's Epcot on October 1, 1982, Ronald Reagan was in office, the U.S. had just experienced a Tylenol scare, and Italy had triumphed over West Germany for the FIFA World Cup.

Back then, Walt Disney World's second park was known as EPCOT Center -- an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The original inspiration for the park, which is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, came from Disney's vision of the ideal city of the future, which would be built in Central Florida. His plan was for a model community of 20,000 residents where ideas about urban planning and organization could be tested.

Unfortunately he couldn't get permissions for the plan before building the Magic Kingdom, and he died before seeing his vision realized.

Legend has it that imagineers at first couldn't decide on a concept for the park inspired by Disney's idea -- they were stuck between one celebrating futuristic advancements and another celebrating world cultures. As the story goes, some of the imagineers took two tables, each holding a model of one of the proposed concepts, and pushed them together to create one park. Voila!

Over the years Epcot has evolved into not only a theme park, but a destination for shopping, dining and events. It plays host annually to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and corresponding Wine & Dine Half Marathon, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, and the celebrity-hosted holiday Candlelight Processional.

Take a look back at Epcot in the slideshow below. For a listing of celebratory events at the park, head over to the DisneyParks Blog.

For even more vintage Disney awesomeness we've got you covered:
Five Lost Disney World Rides
Five Lost Disneyland Rides
Vintage Disneyland Commercials
Vintage Disney World Commercials
Even More Lost Rides And Attractions

Loading Slideshow...
  • Walt's vision

    Photo: The Walt Disney Company

  • EPCOT Center rendering

    Photo: The Walt Disney Company

  • Spaceship Earth under construction

    Photo: The Walt Disney Company

  • EPCOT Center opening

    Photo: The Walt Disney Company

  • Epcot Opening Ceremony

  • Epcot Opening Ceremony

  • Epcot Opening Ceremony

  • Disney Postcards

  • Old Disney Postcards

  • Disney Postcards

  • EPCOT Center commercial 1989

  • Kitchen Kabaret 1982-1994

    Kitchen Kabaret was located in The Land until it was replaced with Food Rocks and then Soarin'.

  • Universe of Energy 1982-1996

    This is now the location for Ellen's Energy Adventure.

  • World of Motion 1982-1996

    World of Motion was closed to make way for Test Track.

  • Horizons 1983-1999

    The Horizons pavilion was torn down to make way for Mission Space.

  • Horizons 1983-1999

  • Body Wars 1989-2007

    Body Wars was also located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion.

  • Wonders of Life pavilion 1989-2007

    Cranium Command was located here from 1989-2007.

  • The Land 1989

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created an experimental living laboratory using hydroponics and aeroponics in the Land Pavilion in 1989.

  • The Land tour 1989

  • Chinese Acrobats in 1995

  • Epcot show 1998

  • The Living Seas 1998

    They're now "presented" by Nemo and friends.

  • Spaceship Earth 1998

  • Italy Pavilion 1998

  • UK Pavilion 1998

  • Spaceship Earth decked out for the millennium celebration

  • Milennium Village 1999-2001

    In celebration of the year 2000, Epcot opened the Millennium Village to showcase more countries.

  • Tapestry of Nations parade 1999-2001

    Epcot's millennium celebration parade